Author Archives: Marko Benda

The World’s Best–and Worst–Tax Rules for Expats by ALYSSA ABKOWITZ

Expats looking to minimize their income-tax bill may want to pack up and move to Bulgaria.

While there’s no such thing as tax-free living, some places have better tax structures for expats than others—and the tiny Balkan nation is one of them.

A new report from AIRINC, a firm that collects and analyzes data on international mobility that’s based in Cambridge, Mass., shows certain countries offer distinct advantages when it comes to expats paying taxes.

To determine the best and worst countries for expatriate taxpayers, AIRINC looked at 125 countries and compared marginal tax rates—that is, the tax rate you would pay on an additional dollar of income. The data firm applies that to what they define as “high income married expatriate individuals.”

While many countries have tax systems that include income tax, some locales offer expats a lower tax rate to encourage more globetrotters to settle down. Spain, for example, allows qualifying expats to pay a flat 24.75% tax on gross income for the first five years, which is substantially lower than the maximum 51.9% marginal rate. In Japan, certain employer reimbursements for expats can be made either tax-free or at a reduced tax cost.

The study didn’t include countries such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, which don’t assess individual income tax on expats. It’s also important to keep in mind that expats from the U.S.—and even tiny Eritrea—tax income earned overseas. That’s on top of the taxes that would apply from local authorities.

The results: The best tax locations are Bulgaria and Kazakhstan, both with a flat income-tax rate of 10%. The worst country was Slovenia, with a 61.10% marginal rate for married taxpayers, followed by Belgium, with a 59.60% marginal rate.

In Slovenia, the income tax rate is 50%–on top of that, employees pay a deductible social-security contribution of 22.1%, explains Patrick Jurgens, director of global tax research and consulting at AIRINC.

Still, sometimes there’s a trade-off for higher taxes (gasp!). Sweden once had the highest tax rates in the world, and is one of the “worst” locations according to the study. But the Scandinavian nation has also been much lauded for its social services like health care and education.

Sweden’s tax rates once were the highest in the world. Here, the waterfront in the old city area of Stockholm, Sweden.

Bloomberg News

*Article from WSJ


Real estate prices in Bulgaria

Bulgaria is one of the hottest property hotspot not only in Eastern Europe but also across the globe. There are three major types of properties in the Bulgarian real estate sector. These include residential properties, commercial properties and holiday real estate properties.

Since the beginning of 2014, there has been a considerable increase in demand for residential houses in Bulgaria thus spurring a rise in rental and sale prices for residential properties. This rise in demand and as such prices is attributed to an increase in foreign demand for residential properties. Among the areas that have witnessed an increase in demand for residential properties is Sofia, Black Sea coast, Varna and Plovdiv. Whereas this is the case, it is vital to mention that Bulgaria still has the most favorable rental and sale prices for residential properties in Eastern Europe and within the European Union. For instance, the average price of buying a residential property in Bulgaria is approximately €600 to €700 per square meter. On the other hand, the average price for renting residential properties is €3 to €10 per square meter per month. Notably, this price depends on the location of the residential property, with properties in Sofia renting at a higher price because of their high demand as compared to properties in other parts of Bulgaria. Importantly, most of the residential properties are easily accessible and are located within the vicinity of the capital city, Sofia and near the major towns in this country.

Similarly, there has been a significant increase in the demand for commercial properties in Bulgaria since 2011. Arguably, there are numerous projects that have contributed immensely toward the growth of office space. Currently, the office space in this country stands at approximately 1,570,242 square meters. Importantly, the rental rates in Bulgaria increased by an average of 8% for the first time since 2011 for commercial properties reaching €13 per square meter per month. However, in most places, the average prices for commercial properties such as office space range between €10.5 and €12 per square meter per month. Again, it is vital to mention that the prices of these properties are influenced by the location of the property as well as issues such as tenant specifications. Importantly, real estate analysts project that the demand for premium office space will increase considerably in 2014/2015, which may influence the rise in rental prices.

Finally, it is essential to mention that there has been a considerable increase in the demand for holiday real estate properties in the last few years. Notably, while the 2007/08 global financial crisis had an impact on the flow of investment in holiday properties in different tourist destinations in Bulgaria, there are indications that the holiday real estate sector is slowly picking up. Currently, the average selling price for holiday homes and other properties that focus on tourism is €512 per square meter. However, it is important to note that this price is higher or lower depending on the location of the property.

Lets talk about wine

You can get great bottle of wine in Bulgaria for 4€. And it’s not fake wine as sold in discount stores.

Wine Industry in Bulgaria

There are different industries in Bulgarian economy that have a high potential growth rate. Among these industries is the wine industry. Notably, the wines’ sector is the most competitive sectors in food industry in Bulgaria.

To begin with, while Bulgaria is yet to gain the fame as a wine producer such as Italy, Spain and France, this country is the second largest producer of bottled wine across the globe. Moreover, Bulgaria is one of the producers of the finest wine in the world. Statistics indicate that the wine industry is Bulgaria has been growing steadily in the last few years. For example, in 2013, the wine industry in this country grew by 45%. In this regard, the country produced between 180 million and 200 million liters of wine as compared to 127 million liters of wine in 2012. Statistics further point to the fact that in the first six months of 2013, Bulgaria exported close to 28.2 million liters of wine, which represented a 5.8% growth in wine export compared to the first six month of 2012.

The export markets of the Bulgarian wine industry include China, Britain, Russia, the United States and Vietnam. Since the beginning of 2014, Bulgaria has exported more than 22 million liters of wine to different markets across the globe. Importantly, half of this export went to Russia, which is the main market of the Bulgarian wine. Similarly, statistics point to the fact that the United States is also a major market for the Bulgarian wine. Notably, the American businessman Robert Hike, who already imports wine from Bulgaria to the United States, is planning to increase his volume of wine import from Bulgaria to the United States to 40 million bottles in the next five years. In addition to this, Vietnamese companies recently signed a trade deal that will see Bulgaria export 500,000 liters of its wine to Vietnam. With respect to the Chinese market, it is expected that Bulgaria will be exporting close to one million of liters of its wine to this nation every year.

Studies indicate that Bulgaria grows close to 100,000 hectares of grapes for commercial purposes. On the other hand, a further 60,000 hectares of grapes is owned by farmers. With this in mind, the average annual yield of grapes in this country is estimated at 230,000 to 250,000 tons. Similarly, the average production capacity of the wine industry in Bulgaria is estimated at 10 million hectoliters.

Importantly, the grape yield in this country is expected to grow tremendously in the next few years owing to the introduction of new type of grapes that are resistant to droughts, diseases and pests. Moreover, the entrance of new investors in the wine industry will boost its production capacity in the next few years.

Speaking from this perspective, the wine industry in Bulgaria is one of the most promising industries that would yield high returns on investment in the next few years. And wines are amazing. You should try it!

Bulgaria is European Silicon valley

The IT Sector in Bulgaria

The Bulgarian information technology industry is one of the fastest growing industries in this country. Arguably, since the 1990s, the IT industry in this country has enjoyed consistent growth, only slowing down between 2008 and 2010 because of the global financial crisis. According to European Information Technology Observatory (EITO), the Bulgarian IT industry has been enjoying at a two-digit rate, and there are no signs that this growth will slow down anytime soon.

While this market is characterized as least developed in Europe with respect to hardware penetration, there are signs that this market will boom soon with new customer base and adoption of new technologies such as cloud computing. Note that in 2011, Bulgaria was the only Southeast European country to be ranked as one of the most competitive countries in the IT Industry Competitiveness Index 2011. Importantly, this country has been shifting to a digitalized economy, thus enhancing its ICT market potential.

Arguably, Bulgaria is one of the leading countries with a high number of top Multinational ICT corporations in Eastern Europe. Among these multinational corporations include HP, SAP, Johnson Controls, VMware, CISCO, ProSyst and Atos among others.

Note that the presence of the IT multinational corporations in this country implies that businesses that engage in ICT business can easily access top-notch technologies at affordable prices. In addition to this, Bulgaria has the second fastest broadband in the world after South Korea. Moreover, studies indicate that there is a considerable increase in hardware sales. In 2013, hardware sales account for 1.088bn BGN while in 2014, the sales rose to 1.119bn BGN, which represented a 2.9% rise. With respect to software sales, the Bulgarian market is expected to rise by 3% between 2014 and 2015, from 242 million BGN to 249 million BGN. This implies that this market is growing with respect to the use of ICT.

Notably, the ICT sector in Bulgaria generates approximately 10% of the total national GDP. Moreover, most players in the ICT industry in this country are SMEs. In this regard, there are minimal barriers of entry in the Bulgarian ICT market.

Figure: Top 10 countries as per number of certified professionals per 10,000 inhabitants, 2002 (Source:

One of the most important factors to note about the Bulgarian IT market is the supply of IT labor. Notably, by 2011, this market had 78,000 of ICT workforce, which represented 2.7% of the total workforce. In this regard, the Bulgarian market had 15,000 people in the management and business architecture level, 35,000 core ICT practitioners, 17,000 ICT mechanics and manual workers, and 11,000 other ICT technicians. Moreover, evidence indicates that the Bulgarian universities produce 3,500 IT graduates every year. Furthermore, of the 49 universities in this country, 50% of them offer computer specialties, with 11,000 Bulgarian students majoring in biotechnology, electronic engineering, computer science, physics and mathematics. Apart from availability of ICT workforce, Bulgaria’s average wages in the ICT sector is competitive as compared to countries such as the United Kingdom, Germany and France.

For instance, the average monthly salary in the software industry is approximately 1.174€. This implies that foreign businesses can outsource their ICT project to Bulgaria at a cheaper cost.

Speaking from this perspective, the ICT industry in Bulgaria is a promising industry that has potential to yield high returns on investment in the next few years.

Imagine that..


Real estate ugly duck or a cheap princess?

The Bulgarian real estate sector has gone through numerous transformations since 1950, which are grouped in three phases. Importantly, this country’s political and economic development had an influence on how each phase developed. To begin with, the first phase in the real estate sector in Bulgaria is associated with socialism, i.e. post World War II to 1990.

During this period, the government had a firm control over nearly every activity in the real estate industry. For example, consumers needed approval from the government to purchase a property. Moreover, the laws and regulations during this period limited the property that one could buy as a single person, as a married couple with no children and so forth. The sales and rental prices for properties were determined by the government and were fixed. Therefore, during this phase, Bulgaria had inadequate pricing and lacked a property market, leading to market imperfections such as insufficient supply, excessive demand and undervalued and very low properties.

The second phase in the revolution of the Bulgarian real estate markets occurred in the mid-1990s to early 2000s. During this period, the state relinquished the ownership rights of most properties that had been nationalized before to private owners, a factor that increased the supply of properties. However, this did not affect the rate of construction of new properties. Between 1996 and 1997, the prices per square meter rose dramatically because of the inflation that occurred during this period. Whereas this is the case, the government implemented a number of reforms that ended inflation leading to stabilization of real estate property prices. In addition, Bulgaria’s bid to join NATO (now a member since 2004) and the European Union (now a member since 2007) accelerated reforms in different sectors in this market, thus leading to an increase in demand, not only from local investors but also from external investors from North America and other European Union member states. In this case, this period saw an increase in the attractiveness of Bulgaria’s real estate markets.

The third phase which occurred between mid-2000s to present has witnessed the modernization of the Bulgarian real estate market. In the last ten years, the real estate in this country has experienced tremendous growth and appeared on the international markets for the first time, thus increasing external demand for its properties. In this regard, the market experienced a double-digit annual growth. This boom was only interrupted by the world economic crisis of 2007/08, which led to a drop in property prices. It is estimated that the property prices dropped by an average of between 30–40%. Whereas this is the case, since 2009, the real estate market in Bulgaria has experience a steady growth at an average of approximately 11.65%. Market research findings point to the fact that there is an increase in the number of investors in the real estate in Bulgaria. Most of these investors originate from Russia and the United Kingdom. Moreover, there are more reforms in the real estate sector that have helped stabilize the sector.

New era

The Bulgarian market has witnessed a steady growth since 2009 after it slowed because of the global economic crisis. Arguably, there has an increase in transactions in the real estate sector in this economy in the last few months amid the improving economy. In 2013, flats in Bulgaria had an average price of €442.12 (BGN 864.52) per square meter, which was a drop of just 1.21%. This represented the lowest drop in property prices in the last five years. On the contrary, when computed based on inflation, the actual prices of flats and other properties in this economy increased by 0.38%.

The quarterly averages of prices of properties in Bulgaria, especially for flats dropped by 0.15% between September and December 2013. When computed after factoring in the inflation rate during this period, the actual drop in prices of properties such as flats was -0.93%. This is an indication of stabilization of property prices and as such, the property market in this nation, which had witnessed a drop of close to 40% in property prices during the 2007/08 global financial crisis. Note that before the onset of the 2007/08 global financial crisis, property prices were as high as €725.17 (BGN 1,418) per square meter. Notably, between 2000 and 2008, the real estate market in Bulgaria witnessed a sharp rise in property prices, which finally stagnated in the last quarter of 2008. In 2009, the average prices of residential properties dropped by 26.31% from a year earlier while in 2010, the prices of residential properties dropped by 5.58%. A nearly similar scenario was witnessed in 2011 and 2012, which saw residential property prices fall by 6.16 and 1.4% respectively.

With respect to different cities and towns in Bulgaria, varied property prices were recorded. In this respect, the capital, Sofia, had average prices of €736.32 (BGN 1,439.79) per square meter for residential properties. In the same way, three out of Bulgaria’s 28 provinces, namely Tarnovo, Targovishte and Veliko recorded increase in house prices in 2013. On the contrary, provinces such as Sliven, Pazardzhik and Vratsa had a sharp decline in prices of houses in 2013.

Speaking from this perspective, it is vital to mention that the Bulgarian property market is on the road to complete recovery after its slowdown in 2008. This is as a result of the fact that in the last few years, most consumers in this country have enjoyed a stable income. In addition to this, there has been an upsurge in the cash savings of homebuyers, which when invested in the real estate market will boost this market. In this case, it is expected that in the next few coming months, the interest rates on savings will decline, thus forcing them to invest in real estate, which is a safe bet. This implies that as prices of properties in this sector rise, the profit margins of investors will increase considerably. In other words, Bulgaria is already positioned to become the most lucrative real estate market in Eastern Europe in the next few years.

Is safe to invest in Bulgaria?

Openness to Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is one of the most important factors that determine the capability of a nation to attract and retain investment from foreigners. Speaking from this point of view, Bulgaria is one of the nations in Eastern Europe that promotes openness to FDI through its attractive foreign investment regime. This includes low flat income and corporate taxes, and incentives for new investments.

Among the sectors that currently attract a large number of foreign investors include biomass, healthcare, environmental technology, agriculture, and information technology. Moreover, the receptiveness of Bulgaria on Foreign Direct Investment is complemented by the increase of European Union funds, which supports a number of projects that contribute toward the growth of this economy. In addition, as a member of the European Union, good and services produced in this country can now access to numerous markets across Europe.

Apart from its openness to FDI, Bulgaria boasts as one of the few countries in Eastern Europe that have a stable political environment and a steady economic performance. Notably, this nation has its national currency pegged to the Euro, which is a source of its stability and motivation for increased investment and trade activities. Furthermore, while the global financial crisis of 2007/08 affected the growth rate of exports and the inflow of FDI in Bulgaria, recent trends indicates that the country is back on track, with an increase in the number of foreign investors and an upsurge in the demand for its products and services, not only in Europe but also in North America and Asia.

In addition to this, the Bulgarian government has recently focused on a number of policy reforms to promote good governance, enhancing the development of human capital and in general, promote its innovation potential and competitiveness not only within the European Union jurisdiction but also in Asia, North America and South America.

There are a number of regulations that Bulgaria has in place with respect to Foreign Direct Investment. Notably, the Investment Promotion Act of 2004 promotes equal treatment of both domestic and foreign investors. In addition to this, the legal framework of this nation provides incentives to investors who have interests in education, high-technology and manufacturing, and human resource development. These incentives include training of staff, accessibility to state financing for basic infrastructure, assisting investors purchase land, as well as providing tax incentives.

Finally, it is essential to note that Bulgaria has laws and regulations on competition in different sectors. In this regard, the Law on the Protection of Competition of 2008 aims at enacting the European Union laws and regulations on consumer protection and competition. As such, this law prohibits unfair competition, monopoly, misuse of market power and restrictive trade practices. Importantly, the law covers factors that could be used to promote unfair competition such as pricing, market share, discrimination against competing customers, supply sources, and utilizing economic power to create mergers.

In addition, laws and regulations on market competition forbid marring of competitors’ names, reputation and brands. Therefore, companies that need to set up administrative offices in Bulgaria have an opportunity to enjoy protection from unfair competition, both from the local and foreign rivals.

Opening a company in Bulgaria!? It’s easier than buying a Big Mac..

One of the greatest challenges that multinational corporations face when opening up administrative offices in foreign countries is embedded in the registration of their businesses in these markets. Notably, most countries across the globe have stringent policies that make registration and operation of foreign businesses in their market difficult. However,  Bulgaria has some of the most favorable policy guidelines for multinational companies that wish to set up administrative offices in their markets.

To begin with, it is essential to note that the Bulgarian corporate laws do not discriminate foreign firms. In line with this, a foreigner who registers a company in this market enjoys the same privileges and is subjected to the same corporate terms as that of locally-owned companies. Additionally, foreign firms in Bulgaria are subjected to the same regime and taxation as that of a company that is owned by Bulgarian citizens. This is unlike most countries, which discriminate foreign firms with respect to laws, policies, regulations and corporate terms.

Similarly, foreign firms need low capital to register a limited liability company in Bulgaria. In this case, it costs 2 BGN (approximately US$1.29) only to register a single member limited liability company or a limited partnership company, and it usually takes up to 2 weeks only to register the company. This is unlike markets such as the United Kingdom that have a standard company registration fee of £20 (approximately US$32.39). With respect to a minimum authorized capital for a Public Liability Company, a foreign firm needs BGN 50,000 (approximately US$32,250) only, as compared to the United Kingdom where such as company will need £50,000 (approximately US$80,981) as the minimum authorized capital.

Apart from favorable corporate laws, regulations, policies and terms, the cost of registering a company, and the minimum authorized capital, Bulgaria has a simplified process of registering companies for foreign businesses. Note that one can register a company in this market from another country without necessary coming to Bulgaria. This can be done through the power of attorney. Moreover, foreign companies that operate in Bulgaria do not need to become a member of any organization such as the chambers of traders since such membership is voluntary. In this case, a company can register as a member of these trade organizations based on whether its sees such membership as beneficial.

Finally, it is vital to note that Bulgaria has favorable regulations regarding the ownership of properties and operation of companies. Note that as individuals, foreigners face legal restrictions on buying land in this market. However, these restrictions do not apply to foreign firms. On the contrary, foreign firms can buy and own land in Bulgaria without any legal restrictions. With respect to company operations, the firm does not incur any cost after its registration unless it is operational. Likewise, a company operating in Bulgaria is not limited with respect to the way its uses its profits. Note that once a company has paid its 10% corporate tax and 5% dividend tax, the rest of the profits can be exported back to the home country legally without any restriction. This implies that a company can use the profits earned in Bulgaria to invest in other markets or projects outside the Bulgarian jurisdiction without restrictions.

Tax benefits in Bulgaria

One of the requirements that businesses need to grasp fully in the markets in which they operate is taxation. Arguably, Bulgaria is one of the countries with the most favorable taxation system in Eastern Europe. Note that whereas most European countries have attractive corporate tax regimes, their personal income tax is unattractive. However, Bulgaria has exceptional personal and corporate tax framework in the European Union.

Therefore, it is essential to note that Bulgaria has a worldwide income tax system that tax residents on their worldwide income. In this regard, this country levies a 10% flat personal income tax.

Importantly, in the last few years, this nation has entered into double tax treaties with other member states of the European Union with the aim of exempting individuals from paying taxes to their countries of origin on income earned in Bulgaria. As a result of this, non-citizen individuals only need to pay 10% tax on personal income earned in Bulgaria thus avoiding double taxation. This means that a resident of a high-tax country who lives in Bulgaria only pays 10% tax, both at the personal and corporate tax level.

With respect to corporate income tax, businesses are required to pay only 10% tax on their income that they earn in Bulgaria. In this case, the Corporate Income Tax Law outlines that non-resident companies pay tax only on income derived within the Bulgarian market while resident companies pay corporate income tax on their worldwide income.

Importantly, a company is termed as a Bulgarian tax resident if it is established under the European Union regulation 2157/2001 or a cooperative created under the European Union Regulation 1453/2003, and has been entered in the Bulgarian register. Similarly, companies incorporated under the Bulgarian legislation are considered as Bulgarian tax residents. Moreover, companies with a taxable income less than €150,000 do not need to pay advance tax (deposit of tax) with regard to the following year. On the other hand, companies with a taxable income of between €150,000 and €1.5 million must deposit a quarterly advance tax for the following year. The advance taxes are based on the taxable profits of the preceding year.

The Bulgarian tax system has a well-defined tax exemption, deductible expenses and tax incentives. Notably, income on dividends is classified as exempt as long as it is earned from the European Union, the European Economic Area (EEA) and Bulgaria. Similarly, income after the disposal of financial instruments on regulated markets is considered as exempt income. In the same way, expenses such as scholarships to students, social insurance contributions and salaries for hired employees who were registered for a long time as an unemployed are considered as deductible expenses.

Furthermore, the Bulgarian tax system offers corporate income tax incentives for production companies that invest in municipalities that have unemployment rate above the national average rate, collective investment schemes and licensed real estate investment trusts, and manufacturing companies that invest in depressed areas. Note that these are exempted from corporate income tax up to 100%. In addition to this, all export to, and import from the European Union is duty free in Bulgaria. Therefore, foreign companies investing in Bulgaria stand a chance to benefit a lot from its attractive taxation system.


Is Bulgarian economy collapsing?

The economic status of any particular market is a vital component to consider when setting up administrative offices in such a market since it determines its suitability as an investment destination. Therefore, foreign businesses that aspire to open offices in Bulgaria are privileged to enter into a market that has witnessed a steady growth of its economy over the years, especially after the end of the communist era that had a negative impact its economic growth.

According to reports by the European Union, the Bulgarian economy grew by 0.6 percent and 0.9 percent in 2012 and 2013 respectively. The same reports indicate that this economy will grow by 1.7 percent in 2014, 2.9 percent in 2015, and 3.4 percent in 2016. Economic analysts argue that this steady growth of the Bulgarian economy was facilitated by exports and recovery in the European Union. In addition to this, the current Bulgarian government has a strong commitment towards stimulating economic growth through social protection for the poor and encouraging investment. Moreover, Bulgaria is one of the economies across the globe that consistently maintain low inflation rate. For the last five years, this economy has maintained a low inflation rate of 5 percent and below. For example, in 2014, the inflation rate is capped at 1.6 percent. This in turn has seen this country maintain low interest rates. For example, between 2005 and 2014, the average interest rate stood at 1.72 percent. Therefore, foreign businesses setting up their administrative offices in Bulgaria can take advantage of the low interest rate and low inflation rate.

Apart from focusing on economy growth, the Bulgarian government is also committed to economy development, especially with respect to technology and other infrastructural developments. Recent World Bank reports points to the fact that this country is collaborating with the World Bank in order to upgrade its road infrastructure. In this case, the Bulgarian government point of focus is to increase accessibility to different areas and enhance service delivery. For instance, in the already completed phases, the travel time between various destinations has reduced considerably. This implies that businesses that set up their administrative offices in Bulgaria will have the opportunity to access a wider market in this economy.

Speaking from a general perspective, Bulgaria has a relatively stable economic environment that is favorable for business growth. Notably, the Bulgarian economy has withstood different challenges over the last 20 years. In the 1990s, this economy was set on a growth path and ever since, it has remained stable despite the political challenges during this period. In a more recent case, Bulgaria was among the least affected economies by the 2007/08 economic crisis that shook many economies within the European Union and other parts of the globe. Additionally, the Bulgarian economy remained relatively stable amid the Eurozone crisis in early 2009, which had adverse effects on countries such as Greece, Ireland, Spain, Portugal and Cyprus. With this in mind, this economy remains as a destination of choice with respect to foreign companies seeking to invest in Europe.


Foreign companies opening their administrative offices in Bulgaria

The administration of businesses plays a significant role in defining their success. In this regard, businesses need to choose an appropriate central point from where they can manage their businesses in different locations effective. Speaking from this perspective, foreign companies opening their administrative offices in Bulgaria have a chance to enhance their competitive advantage over rivals because of a number of benefits that the Bulgarian market offer.

To begin with, the cost of running an administrative office in Bulgaria is relatively cheap as compared to other countries such as the United Kingdom, German, France, and Denmark among others. Arguably, Bulgaria has an average office rent of €9-19 per square meter, as compared to markets such as the United Kingdom and German, which are shunned because of high real estate costs. Moreover, real estate costs in this market have the potential to remain relatively low in the medium term.
The Bulgaria market also offers an opportunity to foreign companies to explore the highly skilled multilingual talent. Notably, there are nearly 60,000 students, who graduate in Bulgaria annually, with most of these graduates obtaining relevant degrees for the BPO industry. As such, foreign companies can easily access an array of talents to address their labor needs. Note that most Bulgarians are multilingual and as such, foreign companies could reduce the costs of hiring staff who are experts in other languages other than English and French. Additionally, the cost of labor in Bulgaria is relatively cheap as compared to other markets within the European Union. Arguably, the average salary in this market stands at €333 per month, which is relatively low as compared to other markets in the European Union. Similarly, this market has an average hourly wage of €3.70, which is less than a sixth of the European Union average.

Another factor that contributes to the suitability of Bulgaria as the best option for setting up administrative offices for foreign companies is its location. Geographically, Bulgaria is located at a vantage point, which provides an avenue for foreign companies to access different markets not only in Europe but also in North America and Asia. Note that when foreign companies open administrative offices in Bulgaria, they strengthen their ability to manage not only their businesses in other parts of the globe such as Europe, Asia and North America, but also enhance their capability to serve their customers well in these regions. The suitability of Bulgaria’s location is enhanced by its stable political environment. In this regard, it is easy to do business in Bulgaria as compared to neighboring countries such as Turkey, Serbia and Greece.
Finally, it is vital to note that foreign companies that open their administrative offices will have access to high technological platforms to manage their businesses. Note that Bulgaria invests heavily in the development of technology. As a result, this nation has one of the highest numbers of patents per 10,000 of its population each year. Similarly, foreign companies that open their administrative offices will have access to technologies from companies such as Oracle, Cisco, Nokia, SAP, HP, IBM, Vodafone, Microsoft, and Siemens, which have set up offices in this market. Additionally, the BPO centers in Bulgaria are among the top BPOs in the world.

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